Monday, February 16, 2009

Luck By Chance

Zoya Akthar is probably one of those kids who ate, drank and slept Bollywood and oddly this daughter of Javed Akthar and Honey Irani, cousin of Farah Khan and hence a friend of a zillion leading stars and other figureheads of the hindi film industry[1] does a good job of (re-/de-)constructing the filmistan world for outsiders [2].

An debutant outsider, Vikram JaiSingh (played by Farhan Akthar), hits the jackpot and turns into an overnight star, thanks to a series of fortunate events -- thats the pretty much the gist of the story. But what makes this movie interesting is the crumbling fourth wall, great performances and a bunch of ironies that go along with the casting.

Crumbling fourth wall [3] and self-mockery have been on the rise in the recent years as seen in Om Shanti Om and other movies. This one takes a sharper tone by casting big stars in edgier roles instead of celebrating their starfdom and pomposity (as in Om Shanti Om or Billu Barber). The stars play loveable but marginally flawed characters with great skill making most of the movie a delight to watch. As an additional treat, the director sprinkles the movie with little vignettes like Roshan's car-window play with street kids and Kapadia's bitch-slapping phone call with a magazine editor.

What was also delightful was intrinsic ironies in casting some of the roles. Farhan Akthar plays the debutant with out any film-family background who goes on to preach about inner strength and not letting focus off the goal. Konkana Sharma plays his girl friend who is denied lead roles because of her average looks and a non-filmy background. Both Akthar and Sharma are in the movie business mostly because of their families. It is hard to believe Konkana would have gained any of her stardom with her looks with out Aparna Sen inspite of her talent as an actress. Her character in the movie has to suffice herself with TV serial roles making a decent living for herself and thats the high note the movie chooses to end with. The rolling credits made me wonder how many of those people ended there by chance and how many of them had higher aspirations but ended up as many many worker bees.  Yet many of them must be happy, as they have not done too shabby a job for themselves. Not a masterpiece of movie, but had fun watching it.

Rating: Recommended.

Written by Kesava Mallela, with many inspirations from across.
[1] One of the characters of the movie hates the term Bollywood, although the character doesn't really explain why.
[2] Outsider - one who doesnt have a Khan, Kapoor, Bachchan, Akthar-Azmi, Dutt, Devagan, Deol or a Mukherjee lastname. A more comprehensive list here at:

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